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Aside from his love of sports, Rick "Poncho" Lambert also loves painting and drawing. "Using colored charcoal is my favorite," he says. Pancho had just started painting, but it quickly became a favorite pastime.

Living for the lights

story by Jon Hernandez

After first turning down Denise Drive and seeing its suburban houses, you wouldn’t think twice about this street.

Then you come across one house that catches your eye. Elaborate Halloween decorations adorn the yard, transforming a simple patch of green grass into a graveyard filled with plastic skeletons.

But step inside the home and you’ll find a different theme. University of Kentucky blue dominates the living room and classic rock radio can be heard throughout the house at all hours.

In the black recliner, a man with a large smile and an even larger heart greets you. Rick “Poncho” Lambert was born and raised in Henderson, and is the biggest fan on the Henderson County sports scene.

While attending Henderson County High School in the late 1960s, Rick was a part of the Colonels football team. Mojo Hollowell dubbed Rick “Poncho,” and it’s stuck ever since.

Speak with anyone in Henderson and they’ll tell you that you can always find Poncho in the stands or on the sidelines of any Henderson County High School game cheering on every athlete while inviting fellow fans to dig into his signature bag of bubble gum.

Poncho’s deep love of sports started from playing as a youngster. “I guess I was born loving it,” says Poncho, “I really miss it.” Now in his early 60s, Poncho can no longer play sports, but that doesn’t stop him from attending games and being Henderson’s number one fan.

Poncho says that in 55 years of attending local games, he can recall missing games only twice. Poncho’s love doesn’t just drive him to attend games, he also donates to the athletic programs.  His devotion is so great that in 2008, he was inducted into the Henderson County Sports Hall of Fame.


Henderson's super fan, Rick "Poncho" Lambert, an accomplished painter, almost always gives away his work.


Cheerios with blueberries and two packets of stevia sugar with soy milk, two pieces of toast with jam and orange juice with ice constitute Pancho's normal breakfast. After preparing breakfast, he sits in his black recliner and prepares to absorb the days events by watching "Good Morning America" and reading various newspapers.


With the complexity and precision of an NFL playbook, Henderson County super sports fan Rick "Poncho" Lambert records his personal medical information each day: blood pressure, blood sugar, weight and more.


Sitting in his recliner in the morning, Rick "Poncho" Lambert splits apart the sports section in The Evansville Courier & Press. After finishing with a section, Poncho saves specific articles relating to local teams.


Early in the evening on Friday, October 19th, 2012, a classic rock radio station is heard through out Pancho's house on Denise Drive. Pancho remains seated on his bed as he starts to get dressed for Henderson County High School's homecoming football game against Muhlenberg County High School. Henderson County defeated Muhlenberg County 55-0.


Players at the Upward Basketball practice at Community Baptist Church get words of encouragement from Rick "Poncho" Lambert. Poncho has been a coaching Upward Basketball for years, says Rev. Mary Wrye. "Poncho would do anything for you," Mary says. "He's a man with a huge, God-shaped heart."


Sitting against the wall behind his team's basketball goal, Poncho eats popcorn in between chants of encouragement. Community Baptist Church has been participating as an Upward Basketball League sponsor for 16 years.

21 of 55 stories